Patricia Oxley-wakefield
I like this. It keeps me looking at it – all the different bits that you have to refocus your eyes to see because they are smaller than the central image. Aha memo to self – that might be one factor in how we assess whether a piece of work is ‘good’ or ‘less good’. It might be to do with whether the piece keeps our attention and perhaps engages our brain (refocussing – paying attention and focussing may have had adaptive qualities in our evolution) This one does and so it ticks that box. I will shut up now

The Creative Quartet:

contrast, rhythm, balance and proportion: universal principles of organic and

aesthetic creativity.

Peter D. Stebbing

Hochschule für Gestaltung

This is important to me )Pat) because of the notion of ‘exaction’ or ‘preadaption’. I have not read the article yet (title of obituary)

the article seems to relate aesthetic responses of pleasure and desire to keep looking to evolution. I think exaction is to do with a particular response which becomes removed from its original stimulus and its original adaptive function but remains as a response with its rewards? does that make sense (also in obituary)

This investigation began in 1984 in response to students’ questions concerning the

reasons for the significance of visual rhythm (pattern) and balance and other basic

organisational principles of visual composition (aesthetic form) in graphic design.

The subsequent research has led to a theory that these basic principles are appealing

to us because our perceptual sensitivity originally evolved to recognize visual rhythms

and balances, etc. since these organizational principles are indicative of life forms,

whose recognition is essential for our survival. Consequently, our sense of aesthetic

composition could be an exaptation (or was ‘preadapted’) from our ability to

recognize the diversity of organic forms. Furthermore, our organic-form-recognitionreward

system may have provided us with the basis for our aesthetic appreciation. It

is anticipated that neuroscience can help us to achieve a deeper understanding of

aesthetics, for example, the evolutionary association which may exist between organic

form recognition and our perception of visual composition and aesthetic form.

better Justine Waddell

Justine says this:

‘they are talking about film and the interviewer asks if some particular films made by a female Russian filmmaker are accessible. Waddell replies ‘Absolutely the interesting thing about a classical film classic books a classic piece of music, when things kind of tiptoe towards being works of art they become enormously accessible. there is something about the truth of a film or a piece of music that makes it accessible to anyone and particularly now when there is so much stress and strain around relations with that part of the world it’s really really important to be accessible to art from the region.

So much here that is undefined. What is meant by ‘accessible’? does it mean ‘liked’? what is ‘a work of art’? what kind of process/hierarchy? is meant by ‘tiptoe towards’?

Remembering, Repeating and Working through

I picked up this reference from Simon Woolham’s intro to his PhD thesis. And I ‘picked up’ Simon Woolham from sending him a proposal for a forthcoming symposium online run by Huddersfield University and I picked up the news of the symposium from the DRN forums and I picked up the DRN network as I wanted to see whether Helen Birch was still posting on there. And Helen Birch is part of my past one of the ‘buladh lei’ crowd.

Freud seems t have a bad reputation nowadays. But I find what I have read of his work to be really enlightening about how life is. eg civilisation and its Discontents’.

I wanted to see if the Remembering and repeating might reveal something about my painting habit and about drawing. There are things in common with what SW says about drawing, and narrative and this quote from Remembering has connections with Schiller’s spielraum.

‘The main instrument, however, for curbing the patients’s compulsion repeat and for turning it into a motive for remembering lies in the handling of the transference. We render the compulsion harmless, and indeed useful, by giving it the right to assert itself in a definite field. We admit it into the transference as a playground in which it is allowed to expand in almost complete freedom and in which it is expected to display to us everything in the way of pathogenic instincts that is hidden in the patient’s mind’

painting, drawing, dreaming, story telling, talking out repetition rumination, externalising (got to read that French book) are they all connected as some kind of ‘righting’ mechanism to ensure proper functioning of the person?


1 Randomness in Generative Art: Drawing Like a Person

James Parker, University of Calgary




The Arts are More than Aesthetics:

Neuroaesthetics as Narrow Aesthetics

Steven Brown and Ellen Dissanayake

Neuroaesthetics: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience

lex Fridman podcast – talking with Jeffrey Shainline about Neuromorphic computing and optoelectronic intelligence

Yes I know that is the kind of thing I listen to!

In reality I had fallen asleep to this one but awoke about 2 hours in to hear this spot on description of my making pictures.

‘relatively simple building blocks connected in potentially simple but sometimes complicated ways and then emergent new behaviour that was hard to predict from those simple elements and that’s exactly what we are working with here.’

I have just listened to it again and now it seems a little bit less significant

he was talking about how to build something that replicates the human brain with its layers of connectivity

Here is a bit from my ‘statement’ for my first solo show:

“It all constitutes a search for the moment of (recognition?). And when I find it, there is always that small buzz of (pleasure?) which wants to be caught and made larger. It indicates that something is important and worth noticing. How much of this ‘small buzz of (pleasure?)’ is hardwired and how much culturally acquired (what is the difference?) is a different question. “

A friend who I had asked to read the statement and comment asked about this bit: ‘How much of this ‘small buzz of (pleasure?)’ is hardwired and how much culturally acquired (what is the difference?)’ in particular about ‘what is the difference?’ At first, I groaned and realised that my tendency to flaunt phrases to impress had been caught out. Then in trying to maintain face, I mentioned that the Lamark had proposed at one point that characteristics acquired during an organism’s lifetime could be passed on to the next generation. I understood that there was a conflict between Lamark’s ideas and Darwin’s. I understand Darwin’s theory to mean that an organism can only pass on characteristics which the organism was born with. My friend then mentioned some research she had seen recently that brought into doubt the belief that lifetime acquired characteristics can not be passed on to offspring and I believe I have also seen something similar.

So that could explain ‘How much of this ‘small buzz of (pleasure?)’ is hardwired and how much culturally acquired (what is the difference?). in that it might not be certain that the ‘buzz’ is hardwired and that it might arise from cultural experience. I think I am talking nonsense at this point so would merely want to say that it seems to me that something that is ‘hard-wired’ deserves more respect and is more ‘real’ that something that is culturally acquired. and perhaps this is only because hardwiring takes a very long time, lasts a very long time and is subject to laws that are objective and ‘natural’. Whereas culturation takes a shorter time, is contingent and subject to human direction.

then I heard Herbert Gintis speaking on ‘gene culture evolution’ :

 People have language because of gene culture evolution. Here’s how it goes. You have a little bit of communication and people care a lot about it because they need to communicate to figure out where to go to find the next profitable location for hunting and gathering. And so then we were people who have a little bit of ability to communicate, that gives rise to genetic changes that make people more capable of communicating verbally, and that leads to more cultural dependency because people use communication more in their deliberations, and so you have a circle of genes affect culture and then the culture promotes a more genetic behavior. And this is only true in humans really, because humans only… Only humans really have cumulative culture that is where from one generation to the next, you maintain a body of knowledge and pass it on, and animals, animals have culture, but they don’t have very much cumulative culture, if birds learn how to open milk bottles, one generation learns how to do it, after a while, they forget, it goes away. It’s not cumulative.

I don’t have the time or skill right now to think this through but it might pertain to my sentence ‘How much of this ‘small buzz of (pleasure?)’ is hardwired and how much culturally acquired (what is the difference?)’